Jim McNulty has lost a kidney - but he will still be able to play for Albion.

The defender had his right kidney removed in an operation at the Nuffield Hospital in Woodingdean, near Brighton.

McNulty suffered the damage when he was accidentally kicked by an opponent during the home game against Crewe last month.

Albion physio Malcolm Stuart revealed: "He undwerwent surgery on Friday. The idea was still to try to save the kidney if we could but the damage was too great.

"It was a long and painful operation but he is making a steady recovery and we see no reason at all why he should not return to full fitness.

"Ten per cent of the population walk around with only one kidney, so it is not going to be a problem career-wise, but it is obviously a big blow to Jim."

McNulty, 24, was hurt on only his sixth appearance for Albion following a £150,000 move from Stockport in January.

He is expected to remain in hospital for at least another week and is unlikely to be fit for the start of next season.